SOTA Activation reports 2008 (14)

SOTA Activation Reports 2008
Activation reports previously submitted  to the Summits On The Air Reflector


GM crop is ruined by August rain (South Scottish summits August 2008)

This report first appeared as a news item on the Summitsbase  website in September 2008

Part 1


I refuse to believe in luck, just as I refuse to believe in fate otherwise I would say that we were fated to be unlucky because this trip seemed to be that way right from the start. Having changed our original plan to head over to the Emerald Isle and activate some EI summits I had for months been looking forward to heading north and visiting some more Scottish summits, however a series of misfortunes and the worst August weather I can remember made the experience less relaxing than I had planned.

Saturday the 16th August dawned grey and wet and after breakfast I started to load the Land Rover Discovery with the usual holiday paraphernalia. I finished packing the car only to find Helen frantically searching for the GPS. It took an hour and a half to find and it turned out to have fallen down the back of the microwave cooker having been placed there out of a pocket when returning from an outing with RAYNET. After a few more minor problems we still found ourselves on the road at about the time we had intended to leave but the stress levels did not quite have us in the holiday mood. We hit a traffic jam and Helen realised that she was getting no traffic alerts from the Sat Nav, she had left the antenna in the other car. Later we realised there was no sound coming from the Sat Nav anyway and we have since had a complete nightmare getting it changed, but that is another story. On the motorway the Discovery started to misbehave and was handling badly. I got the blame for not loading it properly, but the real reason turned out to be a fault on the air suspension however we would not realise this until later in the holiday. We drove carefully on through the cold grey summer rain. I worked Roy G0HDX on Dale Head G/LD-020 and the sight of the hills and the odd break in the cloud put me in a better mood.

The cottage near Selkirk put me in a much better mood, as it was one of the nicer ones we have rented, but I unpacked the Disco in much the same sort of weather as I had packed it. After we had settled in and had a long awaited hot mug of coffee I tried out my mobile broadband which was going to make alerting our activations much more accurate by being up to date rather than being guessed at weeks in advance. I was disappointed to find I had no signal at all on the Three network and yet O2 on the mobile phone was rock solid so self spotting from the mobile it would have to be.

Sunday 17th August dawned brilliant sun but for me it lasted as long as it took to boil the kettle for our first drink of the day and then it started to rain. This delayed our leaving and we changed our plans from doing two 2 pointers Wisp Hill GM/SS-118 and Pikethaw Hill GM/SS-136 to doing one 1 point summit.  

17th August 2008 GM/SS-208 White Meldon

We headed for White Meldon GM/SS-208 and parked in the car park next to the toilet block at around midday. We crossed the burn via a small bridge and headed straight up. Progress was hampered slightly by the lush heather and the slippery wet grass but even more by our complete lack of fitness. Helen and I joined a gym and have been doing an hour every other day for a couple of months now. My gym program was specifically designed around improving exactly this sort of fitness but despite all our hard work we saw nothing to show for it. This is not a particularly steep summit but we struggled our way to the top much slower than we expected. I pushed on to the summit along with my son Stuart and made contact with Helen via the handheld on two metres FM who confirmed she was still outside the activation zone according to both the GPS and where she thought she was on the map. By the time she arrived I was set up and ready to go on 60 metres and I sent a self-spot on the mobile phone. While Helen set up the beam for 2 metres I called on FE (5.3985MHz) in vain and then I thought I heard Mike GW0DSP very faintly. I messed around for ages trying to find what was wrong, but I could not. Eventually I got a report of 5/7 from Mike but I could only hear him 4/1. Don G0RQL was the same he gave me 5/8 and I had him 4/1 too. After I worked Chris G8BKE I could hear nobody. There was some sort of problem with the FT-857. Helen was also having problems with the 2m antenna, she was getting extremely high SWR readings from the 817 and we could not work out why. It started to rain. Helen gave up on VHF and brought me the 817 and I tried again on 60 metres. Now I could hear everyone but they could not hear me. A QSY to 80 metres was not much better but I managed to get the QSOs up to nine. The strangest problem came when I tried to pass the microphone to Helen, no one could hear her and she failed to qualify the summit. I would pass her the mic and she would call the station I just worked to hear deadly silence, she would then call CQ and get no replies, yet when I called again they could hear me. What makes this stranger is that on several summits when we have shared contacts I have been told “Helen’s voice carries better than yours”, most odd! Disappointed we packed up in the rain and headed down to the car, but fortunately as soon as I got my rucksack on the rain stopped and did not start again until we were back in the car on our way to the cottage. I had bought the Yaesu FT-857 especially for this trip and had carried it up the hill along with three 7Ah sealed lead acid batteries hoping for a long session. Tests back at the cottage and later at home seem to show that the 1st preamp up to 20 metres had failed. Unfortunately I had been using it on 10 and 6 metres and had also used it on 2 m and 70cms and I had not noticed any problems. Fortunately back at the cottage I also had the Icom 706 MkIIG so I would still have a little more power than the 817 would allow on further summits.

Date:17/Aug/2008 Summit:GM/SS-208 (White Meldon) Call Used:GM7AAV/P Points: 1 Bonus:

Time

Call

Band

Mode

Notes

12:30z

GM7AAU/M

144MHz

FM

 

12:45z

GW0DSP

5MHz

SSB

 

12:46z

G0RQL

5MHz

SSB

 

13:06z

G8BKE

5MHz

SSB

 

13:23z

G6MZX

3.5MHz

SSB

 

13:25z

G0TDM

3.5MHz

SSB

 

13:26z

G4JZF

3.5MHz

SSB

 

13:30z

G3OHC

3.5MHz

SSB

 

13:33z

G4JZF

5MHz

SSB

 

Date:17/Aug/2008 Summit:GM/SS-208 (White Meldon) Call Used:GM7AAU/P Points: 0 Bonus: 0   

Time

Call

Band

Mode

Notes

13:31z

G3OHC

3.5MHz

SSB

 

13:57z

GM7AAV/M

144MHz

FM

 


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